by Alayna Fryman
Mental health can be an unhealed broken bone in someones body. Your friend, mother, brother, or student next to you, Anyone could suffer from some form of mental health. While these vary in severity, they can all have a strong impact on someone’s life.
“I see struggle with lack of feeling self-worth,” HC Psychologist Stephanie Boggs said. “Academics slip when mental health goes untreated.”
Mental health is something that can make a simple task, like doing homework, overwhelming for those who are struggling. These can make overall tasks daunting and hard to complete.
“I see it impact their grades negative,” HC guidance counselor April Cain said, “It can be hard to be motivated to do work and keep up with classes.”
While mental health can cause a slip in academics, it also cause an overall withdrawal from social activities.
“It can impact their activities,” Cain said. “They either pull out of activities or don’t do as well because they’re struggling emotionally.”
These are not the only things some may notice when it comes to students with mental health struggles. Sometimes, mental health can go unnoticed and can create an even bigger problem.
“A lot of times it’s easy for it to go unnoticed,” HC Social Worker Tori Mason said. “There’s a lot of untreated mental health.”
Sometimes, this can cause for unneeded trouble. Such as making the child have extra classes, by trying to better the child when really they need to talk to someone about how they feel. Some high schoolers may find it hard to just express their feelings to an adult they’ve never met.
“I think going to the counselor or therapist when you’re sad or overwhelmed should be as normal as going to the doctor when you have the flu,” Mason said.
However, some students don’t have access to necessary help that is needed. Recently, Fayette County has put a 10 Point Safety Plan in place. This involves students badges, metal detectors, and adding mental health specialists to each and every school.
“The district has a ten point safety plan so all the elementries have more mental health workers,” HC psychologist Stephanie Boggs said.
Over the next couple of years the plan will add mental health specialists to all high schools and middle schools in the district. This will allow students to have the access they need to get the help they require.
“It’s one of those things where we have to address mental health before academics,” Tori Mason said.
By doing this, allowing the student access to help, you’re helping the situation before it gets worse. HC has around six guidance counselors to assist students at all times.
“We have lots of different resources to try and help with mental health,” Mason said. “The biggest barrier is not being able to access that mental health treatment.”
At HC the year begins with the discussion of suicide and mental health. This is to help students be aware of those around them.
“We start out the year with the suicide prevention training,” Boggs said.
This suicide prevention training is where the school has counselors address the students as a class and discuss the impact of mental health.
“We need to end that stigma around mental health,” Mason said. “If you have a broken bone you’re going to go to the doctor. Mental health is the same way.”